Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 8:09 am

This is disappointing but not unexpected:

All British and United States troops serving in Iraq will be withdrawn within a year in an effort to bring peace and stability to the country.

The news came as defence chiefs admitted privately that the British troop commitment in Afghanistan may last for up to 10 years.

The planned pull-out from Iraq follows the acceptance by London and Washington that the presence of the coalition, mainly composed of British and US troops, is now seen as the main obstacle to peace.

According to a senior defence source directly involved in planning the withdrawal, Britain is the driving force behind the scheme. The early spring of next year has been identified as the optimum time for the start of the complex and dangerous operation.

The italicized portion of that excerpt is not in quotes which indicates a bit of editorializing by the Telegraph. The only people in the American government who are making that claim are the leakers in the intelligence establishment who have been at war with the Bush Administration since before the liberation of Iraq. Even the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate from 2003 on Iraq did not claim that the insurgency would be “driven by the occupation” but rather by sectarian and other factors unleashed by the downfall of Saddam.

The idea that Britain is the “driving force” behind this plan is a smokescreen. If true, the idea to float this trial balloon originated in Washington. I just can’t believe that the Brits would even talk to anyone in the press about this without clearing it with the Bush Administration. Junior coalition partners do no drive policy.

The real question we should be asking is has the situation on the ground materially changed in the past few weeks to justify the sudden and complete pullout of coalition forces?

The answer to that depends on who you talk to. American commanders have given the Iraqi security forces middling to high marks for the way they handled the sectarian violence following the destruction of the Shrine in Samarra. Would the 325,000 Iraqis - the projected force structure by the end of this year - be able to manage security for the country without the help of coalition forces by next spring? That seems an open question at the moment. And anyone who thinks they can project the course of political events in Iraq over the next year which would impact the answer to that question dramatically, please give me a call and handle my stock portfolio; someone so good at prognosticating an unknowable future would make me a millionaire in a couple of months.

Also, the idea that we would precipitously withdraw all of our forces willy nilly is a left wing fantasy. As much as liberals would like to re-live their greatest triumph of watching America humiliated a la the last helicopter lifting off the roof of our embassy in Saigon, it ain’t going to happen. There is going to be a residual American presence of perhaps 25,000 men - a tripwire force - to prevent Iran and Syria from getting any grandiose ideas about taking advantage of Iraq’s weakness vis a vis any outside threat. And drawing down to that number will probably be graduated process - unless Democrats seize control of Congress in November in which case look for a repeat of the Democratic Congressional “triumph” of the class of ‘74 (generally considered the most liberal Congress in recent memory) in yanking funding for the war.

And that brings us to the real reason for this trial balloon; the growing prospect that the Democrats will indeed take control of at least the Senate and perhaps the House as well in the upcoming midterm elections. As remote as that prospect seemed as recently as 3 months ago, the fact is that the numbers have been trending Democratic since early last summer. It has not reached the point yet that the big gun prognosticators have upped the number of at risk Republican House seats significantly, but that could change if a rush of Republican retirements - as reported here - come to pass:

“If you look at past experience, it would suggest that you tend not to get a last-minute rush” of retirements, said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “But I don’t know if that’s going to be the case this time. I think that actually the scandals, the problems, the headaches may cause a number of people two or three months from now to decide that maybe it’s time for a change, maybe they need to spend more time with their families. … I think we could see up to 40.”

Forty open seats with Republicans probably defending the overwhelming majority of them could - could - spell disaster for the party in November.

For the moment (and as long as the redistricting plan in Texas remains in effect) the Republicans would appear to have the strength to be able to hang on to their House majority by the slimmest of margins. But if Texas is forced to alter its district lines, all bets would be off. From a nuts and bolts point of view, losing 4 or 5 seats in any Texas redistricting challenge could tip the balance in favor of the Democrats nationally.

This scenario doesn’t take into account an energized Democratic party and a depressed Republican one. Even in so-called “safe” GOP seats (margin of victory in 2002 at +55%) it doesn’t take a soothsayer to tell you that a switch of as little as 7-8 thousand votes in a few districts that are now considered “safe” could spell the difference in who controls the House in January, 2007.

And that, dear readers, would mean that George W. Bush would face at the very least impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary Committee. A Democratic Congress would have Representative John Conyers as Chairman of that Committee and the frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy nut already has an impeachment report all written up and ready to present to the Committee. It will probably be the first order of business for that Committee come January.

Which brings us back to Iraq and this trial balloon. There is little doubt that Iraq is currently a drag on GOP electoral fortunes. If the numbers keep getting worse, Bush may feel that he has no choice but to withdraw in order to prevent the catastrophe of having to fight off an impeachment inquiry. And at the moment, there is nothing that energizes the Democratic base more than the delicious prospect of humiliating George Bush and the Republicans by holding impeachment hearings that would destroy the Bush presidency.

There is another, less likely factor driving this trial balloon; the belief that Iran will become such a problem over the next year that we would have little choice but to initiate some kind of large scale military action against the mullahs. If so, re-deploying our forces to facilitate such an attack would make sense. It is extremely doubtful the new Iraqi government would allow any such attack on Iran given their inability to fight off an external threat from such a large army so any military action against the mullahs would have to be launched from somewhere else.

The problem with this scenario is that it is unclear whether any large scale raid to take out Iranian nuclear capability could solve the twin problems of overthrowing the mullahs and destroying the Iranian nuclear program. Only a massive invasion involving hundreds of thousands of troops could accomplish both those goals Thus, it is not likely that any military action involving a significant number of American ground troops is probably in the cards.

I have little doubt that this is a serious proposal and that the Administration will be carefully looking at both reaction from the public and Congressional Republicans to see if such an action would be efficacious in the present circumstances. What worries me is that many Republicans would see such a proposal as a life preserver and grab onto it in hopes that it might save their political hides in November.

Before signing on, I would suggest they and the rest of us wait to hear from our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. From what they’ve said recently, there would be little justification for such a pullout. But given the bleak political realities facing the Administration, they may have little choice but to go along with such a proposal which, in my humble opinion, would betray the sacrifice of the men and women who have fought so long and hard in Iraq as well as the sacrifice of their families.


The US military command in Iraq is specifically denying these reports:

Meanwhile, the U.S. military in Iraq said on Sunday media reports that America and Britain planned to pull all troops out of Iraq by spring 2007 were “completely false,” reiterating that there was no timetable for withdrawal.

Two British newspapers reported on Sunday that the pull-out plan followed an acceptance by the two governments that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq was now an obstacle to securing peace.

But a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq reiterated previous statements by U.S. and Iraqi officials that foreign troops would be gradually withdrawn from the country once Iraqi security forces were capable of guaranteeing security.

“This news report on a withdrawal of forces within a set timeframe is completely false,” Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson said of the stories in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Mirror, which quoted unnamed senior defense ministry sources.

(HT: The Next Hurrah)

This is perfectly in keeping with a trial balloon. The military can safely deny such a report.

But watch the first comments on this report from a senior Administration official - Rumsfeld, Hadley, or Rice. Unless there is a categorical denial, this story will get legs over the next few days.


  1. We will be hearing about possible troop removals from Iraq right up until the dismal Bush administration breathes its last fetid breath and slinks from office. But these redeployments will never seem to happen. Each prediction of troops being removed from Iraq will inevitably be followed by accounts of “upticks in violence” that will require a delay in troop departures.

    The whole “troop removal” deal is obviously a shuck. It helps to create the impression that our involvement there could be coming to an end, thereby allaying some of the anxiety many feel over the unnecessary death and expenditure of this insane venture.

    Of course, and as anyone with a real understanding of our situation there knows, removal of our troops is a military and geopolitical impossibility. To do so would be to leave a vacuum that would be rapidly filled by Iran. Should our troops be taken from Iraq among the firtst things the pro-Tehran govt in Baghdad will do is ask for assistance from Iran in dealing with its insurgency. Something their shi’ite brethren in Tehran will be more than glad to provide.

    And who knows, perhaps they’ll bring their nukes with them. That way Iraq will finally actually have those WMD you’ve heard so much about. A little after the fact, however.

    In short Rick, its propaganda. You really need not worry about our troops being removed from iraq. We’re going to be stuck there for decades.

    Comment by Elizabeth Brown — 3/5/2006 @ 10:38 am

  2. As much as liberals would like to re-live their greatest triumph of watching America humiliated a la the last helicopter lifting off the roof of our embassy in Saigon, it ain’t going to happen. There is going to be a residual American presence of perhaps 25,000 men – a tripwire force – to prevent Iran and Syria from getting any grandiose ideas about taking advantage of Iraq’s weakness vis a vis any outside threat.

    Johgn Murtha’s plan, in other words, only lsower?

    Comment by Steve M. — 3/5/2006 @ 10:46 am

  3. That should read “John Murtha’s plan, in other words, only slower?”

    Comment by Steve M. — 3/5/2006 @ 10:47 am

  4. Steve M: Reminds me of a joke that has been going around these last few months:

    Q) What do Gerald Ford and George W. Bush have in common?

    A) They are both Republicans, both came to office under “special circumstances,” they’re both dumber than a a pair of socks, and they oversaw America’s only two military defeats.

    Comment by Elizabeth Brown — 3/5/2006 @ 10:53 am

  5. Brownie:

    Your comments are usually so non-germane that it’s impossible to carry on any kind of “discussion” with you even if one were inclined to do so.

    Simple, regurgitated vomit from the left. Why bother?

    Comment by Rick Moran — 3/5/2006 @ 11:52 am

  6. Obviously, either the campaign to impeach Bush and Cheney must be ahead of schedule, or the Telegraph is uttering nonsense.

    You make the call.

    Comment by Neo — 3/5/2006 @ 2:07 pm

  7. The Telegraph is not left-wing at all, it the the leading right-wing broardsheet, more right-wing than the Times Order like this Independant, Observer(Sun)/Guardian, Times and then Telegraph.

    They also have extensive ties with people in the “Establishment”, so the guess that this is a trail ballon is probably correct. Watch the ballon sink without a trace.

    Comment by DocMartyn — 3/5/2006 @ 3:41 pm

  8. Doc:

    Thanks for the correction. You’re right of course. The web page is reminiscent of the Independent.

    As for them uttering nonsense, this kind of story gets vetted pretty carefully by senior editors. My guess would be that at the very least, whoever is leaking this story actually believes what they’re saying and is not spreading disinformation.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 3/5/2006 @ 4:00 pm

  9. Rick brings up a good point with regards to our forces currently in Iraq and the possibility those forces might be needed in Iran at some point. We may be between somewhat of a rock and a hard place at this time.

    As long as we are in Iraq fullscale, it will be difficult (but not impossible) for us to engage Iran militarily the way we might want to. Consider, if we were to attack or invade Iran while we are still in Iraq at the levels we are now. Even with a small scale attack, the ramifications to our efforts and progress in rebuilding Iraq could be seriously damaged. The Iraqi’s are if anything, moving closer to Iran. What would happen to our progress in Iraq now, if we started an Iran war while we were still in Iraq? At minimum we could very well be fighting a two-front war with insurgents inside the wire with us in our rear. And that’s a high probability possibility we would rather not face if we dont have to.

    Whether you think it may or may not be a good idea to leave Iraq soon, there are definite advantages to doing so with regards to any potential upcoming attack on Iran.

    Forgetting for a moment about the Iraqi stability ramifications of us leaving Iraq, consider how helpful that would be to our Iranian engagement if we were clear of Iraq. A Murtha-type plan where our forces redeploy to Kuwait (or somewhere else close by) would be very beneficial to a future Iranian expedition. We could resupply and get fully prepared for an invasion of Iran. Whether we did invade or not, just having all our forces stockpiled in Kuwait tanned, rested, and ready might sway the Iranians that they need to be a little more cooperative with us. It would help diplomatically because they would see we mean business. As it stands now, Iran knows we are in no position to open up another front with them.

    The Iranians are developing nuclear weapons right now. We cant kick that can down the road for another few years, we need to stop that development right now. Who wants another cold war, this time with unstable and beligerent Muslims?

    The Iraqi’s may have to stand on their own two feet sooner than expected, but like every newborn, we all gotta do it eventually. It may be time for them to start now. We need our forces clear of the Iraqi situation now so we can begin to prepare in earnest for the upcoming Iranian engagements. Let’s give Iraq some “tough love” now by leaving so we can start preparing for the Iranian conflict that must come. We need to be clear of this Iraqi entanglement in order to get prepared to stop what really matters - a middle eastern country with nukes.

    Comment by Mike20169 — 3/5/2006 @ 5:16 pm

  10. US Bugging Out of Iraq By 2007? Not So Fast

    The facts on the ground should determine this, not some politicized reporting. The Iraqi security forces have to be capable of dealing with the situation, and they are doing a far better job than the media acknowledges.

    Trackback by A Blog For All — 3/5/2006 @ 6:06 pm

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